Jackson Lamb faces a number of tough decisions as he prepares for his senior year in high school.
On Thursday he made one major choice official: The Bedford High School two-sport standout verbally committed to join the University of Michigan baseball program starting with the 2014 season.
That wasn't the first choice Lamb made. The first one he faced was whether to commit to playing baseball or basketball after earning All-Michigan honors in both sports with the Kicking Mules.
"I decided on baseball at the beginning of summer," Lamb said. "I like baseball a little bit more, and I figure I have bigger potential in that sport.
"It was a hard choice for me, but I'm glad I chose baseball."
Lamb said choosing to commit to the Michigan baseball program was an easier decision. Erik Bakich, who recently was named the Wolverines' new coach after a three-year stint at the University of Maryland, made a home visit last week, and Lamb committed after making an unofficial visit to the school Thursday.
"I didn't go into that visit thinking that I would commit [to the school]," Lamb said. "But during the visit, everything seemed to fall into place.
"I fell in love with the campus, and I really like the coaching staff. I got to tour the campus and the facilities, and when they offered me I knew it was the right place."
NCAA rules prohibit Bakich or any other member of the coaching staff to comment on Lamb until he signs a national letter of intent.
At Michigan, Lamb would again be a teammate of left-handed pitcher Trent Szkutnik, a Bedford grad who just finished his freshman season with the Wolverines.
"Having somebody I know there wasn't a deciding factor, but it was icing on the cake," Lamb said. "I think it will help me that I know somebody on the team and I won't be alone as I start my career there."
Last season Lamb, an outfielder, hit .548 with three home runs, 28 RBIs and nine stolen bases for the Mules, earning All-Michigan first team honors in Division 1 from the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association. He also earned a spot on the association's "Dream Team," a compilation of the top players regardless of division.
As a sophomore he batted .473 with eight homers and 55 RBIs for a Bedford that reached the state finals and was named first team all-state as well as earning a spot on the "Dream Team."
"Jackson is one of the best hitters I have ever coached," said Bedford baseball coach Craig Trychel. "He's a phenomenal athlete, and defensively he's as good as I've ever seen.
"He is so quick, and he gets great jumps on the ball. When a ball is hit into the outfield, he has saved so many balls from getting into the gap. He hasn't made an error in the outfield in three seasons for us."
Lamb also has shown promise as a pitcher with a fastball that can touch 90 miles per hour. Last year he posted a 7-3 record and 1.58 ERA for Bedford, striking out 75 in 48⅔ innings.
"Jackson has improved each year as a pitcher," Trychel said. "His mechanics have gotten much better, and his velocity has gotten much better. I think he has a great upside as a pitcher. He's tall, lanky, and has long levers, so I think he still has room for improvement as a pitcher."
The choice between pitching or playing in the outfield full-time is a decision Lamb hasn't made yet.
"Coach Bakich wants me to do both, and that's very attractive to me," Lamb said. "He wants me to be a key dual-position player.
"Not having to decide that is good for me, and I'll try to take full advantage of the time I have before I have to decide."
Lamb said he hasn't decided on a major at Michigan.
"That was one of the things I liked about Michigan: The coaching staff was supportive of not having decided on my major," he said. "They said choosing a major is part of my journey, and that made me feel more comfortable."
There is one other decision still looming: If his name is called in Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft next June, will he sign or stick with the Wolverines?
"That's a question I will take on when the time comes," Lamb said. "My answer depends on a lot of factors: How high was I drafted? What team drafted me? How much are they willing to pay to sign me?
"There are a lot of variables to consider, and I'm not sure they will beat a Michigan education."
No matter what choice Lamb makes next June, Trychel said he has been proud to be Lamb's coach.
"As good a player as Jackson is, he's even a better teammate and as good a young man as you'll find," Trychel said. "He's just a phenomenal young man. ... "I think it's great when good things happen to good guys, and that's what is happening here."
Contact John Wagner at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.